A very big part of a successful paint job is careful planning. You want to plan ahead, because once the paint can is open, you need to have all of your ducks in a row. As I looked around my studio, I realized that the best way to handle this job was to divide it into two sections. That way, I could move all of the furniture and gear I already had in the studio to a small area in the front and paint the big back area. Once that part was complete, I could move everything back there and paint the smaller front area. Easy enough to do, and would not require me to store my stuff somewhere else during the job.
After moving all the furniture to the small area at the front of the studio, I mopped the big area that I intended to paint first and let it dry for a few hours. When I returned, I opened up the primer and got to work cutting in around the edge of the room. When painting walls, you can really roll first or cut in first. When I paint walls, I prefer to start with the hardest part (cutting in) and get that out of the way. It’s like having a nice PB&J sandwich, and eating the crusts first while anticipating how much you will savor the pillowy middle part. In my case, when painting walls, the rolling usually comes last – that’s the part where the results are fast, fun & gratifying.
However, because this job was a floor and not a wall, the process was different. if I wanted to cut in and roll in the same session, I had to cut in first. Otherwise I would have been walking on the wet, rolled paint to get to the corners of the room.
As I got started, I was a bit surprised at how runny the primer seemed. Normally, latex primer (for painting walls) is quite a bit thicker than the paint itself. In fact I usually have to spend twice as long cleaning out my brush after using primer than when I clean it out after using paint, because it’s thicker and sticks to the brush.
This is a great reminder to ALWAYS READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! (I can hear my hubs Daniel reading this and rolling his eyes now!) Because I was so familiar with painting walls, I assumed that the cement floor process of “primer + paint” was the same. With great luck I ran into print-maker and building manager Richard Stowe on my way to wash my hands. (Note on that – if you are painting with latex paint – washing your hands frequently will help you avoid stuck-on paint and long scrubbing during clean up). “How’s it going?,” he asked, “have you become light-headed from the fumes yet?” I told him the primer had gone on a bit thin but I thought that after two coats of paint on top of the primer that the floor would probably have good coverage.
“Thin?” he asked, puzzled. “Make sure you wait long enough to put the paint coat on.”
“I was thinking 24 hours, ” I said.
“Well, what does the can say?” he asked.
“Ah, let’s take a look.” We walked back to the studio and I picked up the can of primer. To my great surprise, the directions said that you must place the first coat of paint on top of the primer between 1 – 4 hours after priming the floor. If you wait too long, you have to start over from the beginning and put another coat of primer down! What??? With every other kind of painting I’ve done, I’ve had to make sure to wait long enough to let the primer dry thoroughly. In this case, though, the primer is called a “bonding” primer and it needs to be coated with paint within four hours to make a good seal. Otherwise you have to start from the beginning again, and lay down another coat of primer.
How fortunate I am that Richard was there to offer that simple, yet crucial suggestion to “read the paint can!” I find the biggest challenges with projects like these comes from assumptions I’ve made – often assumptions that I don’t realize I have made. (What is that saying? “You don’t know what you don’t know?”) Luckily since it was Sunday I had the time to go home for two hours and then come back and put down the first coat of paint within the 4-hour window.
I loved the smooth texture the primer coat made – almost a glisten (see photos). The paint went on very well, though the first coat did not achieve complete coverage. Also, the original floor color was a stained concrete that was somewhat dark, so sometimes it takes a bit more paint to cover a darker color.
I put a second coat of paint down (total of one coat primer, 2 coats of paint) to get really good coverage and protect against chips (see photos). I could go another step further and treat it with an epoxy clear coat. However, my budget was spent for the project, and I was getting tired of breathing fumes. I know I’ll have to be careful to not scratch the floor but I’m okay with that.
After the second coat went on, things really started to gel. What a powerful color! It seemed to me to be just perfect! It doesn’t hurt that orange is the color associated with creativity in the Indian system of chakras. To me it is associated with grounded energy, with the earth, with fun and with abundance.
Stay tuned for Part 3 – The Finished Look